Updated: Jan 3
Over the past few years, smartphones have become an integral part of most people’s daily lives, with 78% of people now owning one. This has led to the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in the workplace, whereby employees are permitted to use their own smartphone (or tablet, laptop etc.) to access company information, data, and programmes.
In industries such as construction and utilities, in which many employees work out in the field, access to internet enabled devices vastly improves efficiency and communication. However, providing large numbers of employees with company-owned devices can be expensive. Implementing a BYOD policy can therefore be a great way of increasing productivity, while reducing business costs.
Allowing workers to use their own devices gives them the flexibility to work between jobs, at anytime and on any platform. This kind of working enables mobile workers to be constantly connected to essential information, such as plans, drawings and work schedules while on the move.
Employees’ devices can be connected to mobile and cloud computing services, such as Dropbox, to enable them to access company files wherever they are. They can also save information safely to the cloud which can then easily be shared with colleagues working back in the office, speeding up processes and completely eliminating the need for paperwork.
However, businesses should think carefully before implementing a BYOD policy, as it can also present potential risks, such as data breaches and increased liability. So, for companies looking to take advantage of the benefits BYOD offers, here are five key tips to help ensure its success:
1. Establish a security policy for all devices
Security on personal devices can be lax, with many people opting not to have a lock-screen password or PIN in the interest of convenience. However, if an employee’s phone is to be used to access sensitive company information, a strictly enforced security policy is a must. Each device should have a unique, complex password or PIN in place before it can be used to access business data and programmes.
2. Regularly back up device data
All employees should back up the data on their devices at regular intervals. Backing up data in conjunction with having security and recovery procedures in place will greatly reduce the fallout should a device be lost or stolen.
3. Use a “Find my Device” service
All BYOD devices should be connected to a device locator service. In addition to being able to track a missing device, these services usually have the ability to wipe a device remotely, a critical last-resort measure for ensuring BYOD security in the event of a lost or stolen device.
4. Install antivirus software
There are many commercially available antivirus and security applications that scan and protect devices from common security threats. The company’s IT support should assist employees in selecting and installing antivirus software prior to using their devices at work.
5. Decide what apps will be allowed or banned
This applies to any device that will connect to sensitive business data, whether company or employee owned. Major considerations typically include social media apps, replacement email apps and VPNs. Businesses should decide whether users can download, install and use an app that presents a possible security or legal risk on a device that has free access to sensitive corporate resources.
While it is impossible to guarantee BYOD security, following these recommendations will help organisations to reap the benefits of implementing a BYOD policy, while mitigating risks by securing devices. To view our features visit our demo page.